With St. Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday this year, it seems everyone is Irish for the day to toast the favorite holiday of beer drinkers, storytellers and Irish poets who know a face without freckles is like a sky without stars.
For once, the popular Rough Riders parade in Ybor City falls on the holiday it celebrates, and more than a few bars are pulling out all the stops and creating a block party for St. Patrick's Day. For the little leprechauns, there's a new party in Curtis Hixon Park and parades with lots of beads to add to their treasure.
Here are some of our favorites to consider as you round up your green outfits and build up an appetite for corned beef and cabbage:
Rough Riders St. Patrick's Night Parade
Putting a Gasparilla spin on St. Patrick's Day, krewes from across Florida will toss green beads in emerald-bedecked floats in a parade through Ybor City. Streetcar service will run until 2 a.m., but service will temporarily end in front of the car barn, south of Seventh Avenue, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Free. Downtown Ybor City, E Seventh Avenue and N 14th Street, Tampa. (813) 248-1898. 8–9:30 p.m. Saturday.
River O'Green Fest
New this year, the city of Tampa will dye the Hillsborough River kelly green between the Cass Street Bridge and Kennedy Bridge. In addition, numerous food trucks and entertainers have been invited to the party. Other activities include a kids' craft area, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fun Zone, soccer collies, a visit from the Tampa Bay Lightning Street Team, sack races and a jig contest. Free. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 274-8615. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday.
Bay Area Renaissance Festival
This weekend's theme at the faux 16th century village is "Shamrocks and Shenanigans" with Highland games, a Celtic village, Irish dancers, pub crawl, kilt competition, Scotch Egg eating competition, beer tasting and more. In addition, there's the usual street theater, live jousting, human chess matches, art vendors, fire eaters and more. Advance: $15.95, $7.95 ages 5–12. At the gate: $18.95, $14.95 seniors, $10.95 ages 5–12; $10 per pet (pet registration form required for entry). Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 983-0111. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday–Sunday.
Everything's Green at the Pier
Get free St. Patrick's Day beads and "dealie bobbers" (headbands with springy decorations) at the Pier concierge center and Jonny Reno's bar before catching a show by the Lucid Druid Celtic Fusion band. The Children's Dream Fund will also sell tickets for a ride in a Honda Grand Prix street-legal car ($20). The music starts Saturday at 1 p.m. and car rides are 4–8 p.m. at the Pier, 800 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free.
Dunedin St. Patrick's Day Street Festival
Flanagan's takes its annual party to the street with children's activities, music by numerous area bands, a performance by the Dunedin Pipe Band, Irish step dancers, Irish Buskers band, traditional Irish food and the Fightin' Malones. Free. Flanagan's Irish Pub, 465 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 736-4994. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Saturday.
Maloney's Family St. Patrick's Day Bash
Starting at 8 a.m. is a free Irish breakfast. Until 5 p.m. there's a bounce house, snow cones and face painting. Live music inside and out. No cover until 5 p.m.; after, 21 and older $10. Maloney's Irish Pub, 9540 W Linebaugh Ave, Tampa. (727) 749-0859. 8 a.m. Saturday.
A spring carnival with a St. Patrick's Day twist that includes food, games, live entertainment and carnival rides. $1–$22 tickets; $25–$50 wristbands. Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 11501 66th Ave. N, Seminole. (727) 391-4060. 6–11 p.m. Friday, noon–11 p.m. Saturday, noon–6 p.m. Sunday.
Shamrock 'n' Run
This St. Patrick's-themed event includes a 5K competitive run, 1.5-mile walk and a kids Clover Dash. Stick around for live music by Druid Roots, food and drinks. Nonracers are invited to the free concert. Green attire recommended. $20 (5K); $15 (1.5-mile); $7 Clover Dash. Ulmer Park, 301 West Bay Drive, Largo. (727) 587-6740, ext. 5016. 7 p.m. Friday.
25 Things You Didn't Know About Ireland and Saint Patrick
Join Irish writer Ann O'Farrell, author of Norah's Children and Michael, for humorous tales of her homeland and Saint Patrick. Free. Safety Harbor Library, 101 Second St. N, Safety Harbor. (727) 724-1525, ext. 112. 1 p.m. Saturday.
Mulligan's St. Patrick's Day Bash
The putting greens at two golf courses set the backdrop for this St. Patrick's Day celebration with an Irish buffet, live music, green beer and beer specials, and family-friendly activities. The party spreads from the pub to the banquet room, the veranda and the courtyard. $4 after 4 p.m., children free (Pebble Creek), $3 after 5 p.m., children free (Wentworth). Mulligan's Irish Pub at Pebble Creek Golf Club, 10550 Regents Park Drive, Tampa. (813) 973-3870, and Mulligan's Irish Pub at Wentworth Golf Club, 2990 Wentworth Way, Tarpon Springs. (727) 942-4760. Both at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Beach Bistro's St. Patrick's Day Parade
Sunday's 15th annual slow-strolling parade has marching bands, pipe bands, musicians, floats, Judy the official parade elephant and wee leprechauns. It starts at Eat Here, the casual offshoot of Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach, at the corner of Marina and Gulf Drive, then meanders to North Palm Drive and 79th Street. Free admission. Eat Here, 5315 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. (941) 778-0411. 4–5:30 p.m. Sunday.
St. Patrick's Dinner and Dance
A dance with corned beef and cabbage or veggie lasagna dinner, plus live entertainment by Royal Time Music and the Butler School of Irish Dance. BYOB welcome. $9, $7 center members. Palm Harbor Community Activity Center, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor. (727) 771-6000. 5–8 p.m. Friday.
James Joyce Irish Pub Bash
Newly reopened, the Ybor favorite is celebrating St. Patrick's Day with live music, Irish food, green beer and lots of Guinness. The remodeled pub, opened in the former Eighth Avenue location of Mema's Alaskan Tacos, will offer 50 craft beers on tap, 100 varieties of bottled beers and about 30 varieties of Irish whiskey. Opens at 11 a.m. Saturday, with music starting at 7 p.m. No cover. 1724 E Eighth Ave. jamesjoyceybor.com; (813) 247-1896.
St. Patrick's Day at MacDinton's (SoHo)
Doors open at 8 a.m., but the Irish buffet and whiskey specials start at 11 a.m. Crank it up a notch with live music, Irish dancers and bagpipers starting at noon. $10 (starting at 11 a.m.). MacDinton's Irish Pub, 405 S Howard Ave., Tampa. (813) 251-8999. 8 a.m. Saturday.
MacDinton's Jannus St. Patrick's Day Party
The doors at MacDinton's Jannus open at 11 a.m. and the party hits two stages with DJs, bagpipers, Irish step dancers and live music by Tyson Marshall, the Paper Stanley's, Spirits Down, the Highwaters, Go Daddies, Green Sunshine and the Chris McCarty Band into the wee hours. MacDinton's Irish Pub St. Petersburg, 226 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 565-0544. 11 a.m. Saturday.
Brandon O'Brien's St. Patrick's Day Party
Housed in a tent outdoors, the party includes music by the Tampa Bay Pipe and Drum Band, Irish dancers, Irish food and green beer. $10 after 2 p.m. O'Brien's Irish Pub of Brandon, 701 W Lumsden Road, Brandon. (813) 661-9688. 11 a.m. Saturday.
South Tampa Dubliner St. Patrick's Day Party
It's a three-day party, starting with Friday's Irish luncheon buffet ($9.95) of fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage; later is Fantastic Friday All You Can Drink (7–9 p.m. $10). On Saturday, there's an Irish breakfast brunch (10:30 a.m.–1 p.m.), plus live entertainment, Irish dancers, prizes and contests. Sunday is St. Puppy's Day with an Irish breakfast brunch (11 a.m.–2 p.m.), Irish dancers, live entertainment and a pet costume contest (4 p.m.). $10 cover after 4 p.m. Dubliner Irish Pub, 2307 W Azeele St, Tampa. (813) 258-2257. Also at Citrus Park Dubliner, 12836 Henderson Road, Tampa. (813) 300-2076. Both at 10 a.m. Friday–Sunday.
O'Shy's Countdown to St. Patrick's Day
Just like the New Year's Eve ball, O'Shy's will drop a 40-foot lighted green shamrock at midnight Friday to kick off the St. Patrick's Day street party in Largo (see below). They'll have live music, beer specials and a Guinness pint giveaway while supplies last. Free. O'Shy's Irish Tap House, 80 Clearwater-Largo Road N, Largo. (727) 517-6821.
Largo St. Patrick's Day Street Party
Hit the streets with live music, street performers, fiddlers, Irish dancers, art and craft vendors, 40 craft beers and green beer by O'Shy's Tap House, and corned beef and cabbage by the Deli Diva at Largo's First Friday festival location at Clearwater-Largo Road S and First Avenue SW, Largo. (727) 517-6821. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Saturday.
Dolan's St. Patrick's Day Bash
Dolan's starts St. Patrick's Day with a traditional Irish breakfast including black and white pudding, rashers bacon, corned beef hash, beans and toast. The party continues with live music, dancing, Irish food, beer, ciders and Jameson drink specials. $10. P.J. Dolan's, 2836 E Bearss Ave., Tampa. (813) 374-2338. 9 a.m. Saturday.
Indian Shores St. Patrick's Day Street Fest
The gulffront town closes down the street for a St. Patrick's Day festival with dozens of vendors specializing in Irish and other food, drink, arts and crafts, jewelry and clothing. Proceeds benefit the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District 9/11 Memorial Construction Fund. Free. Indian Shores Town Hall, 19305 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores. (727) 474-7738. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday.
Irish Beer at World of Beer
The original World of Beer in Westchase offers specials on Irish drafts, bottles and beer shots. Their slogan for the day: "Drink good beer, not green beer." No cover. World of Beer Westchase, 9524 Linebaugh Ave. W, Tampa. (813) 852-2337. Other World of Beer locations will have specials, too. For details, see wobusa.com. 10 a.m. Saturday.
Peggy O'Neill's Day Backyard Bash
Food, drink specials, Irish dancers, pipe bands and other live music all day in the 25,000-square-foot back yard. No cover. Peggy O'Neill's Irish Pub, 1026 Florida Ave., Palm Harbor. (727) 787-7734. 11 a.m. Saturday.
Durty Nelly's St. Patrick's Day Block Party
This is the third year for this huge St. Patrick's Day party, with nine bars and nonstop music by 20 bands, including headliners Less Than Jake and the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. The party ends at 3 a.m. No cover. Durty Nelly's Irish Pub, 149 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 8 a.m. Saturday.
Gram's Place St. Patrick's Day Jam
Music party mixes covers, originals and Irish-themed tunes by Parson Brown Band and Mike Handley. The first 12 people wearing green get free Guinness. No cover. Gram's Place, 3109 N Ola Ave., Tampa. (813) 221-0596. 7 p.m. Saturday.
Fubar's St. Patrick's Rock 'n' Roll Party
Party on with beer specials and four sets of live music by the Dead Popes, Jump Salty, Doll Parts and Avast! $3. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 9 p.m. Saturday.
O'Keefe's St. Patrick's Weekend Party
O'Keefe's annual tent party features 2 tons of corned beef and cabbage, green beer, Irish drinks, dancers, drummers, continuous bagpipers, a "teeny weenie green bikini" contest, a face painter, rock climbing and live entertainment and music by Irish Buskers and Greg Billings (Fri.) and Irish Buskers, Empty Hats and Stormbringer (Sat.). It all takes place under a 10,000-square-foot tent. $5 (Friday), $5–$10 (Saturday). Food and drink additional. O'Keefe's Family Tavern and Grille, 1219 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater. (727) 442-9034. 4 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday.
Green Iguana's Go Green Festival
Pool party hosted by 93.3-FM WFLZ's Ratboy, StayPuff and Brian Fink. Also includes dunk tanks, shamrock fist pumpers, Irish food, green beer and special guest DJs including Pauly D, Lesage, Gemini, Jaime F, Goofy White Kid, O Blaze, Big Willie, KCAO Alex Posada and Chriss Vargas. $25 21 and older, $30 ages 18–20. Cabana and room rentals available. Green Iguana's Hawaiian Village, 2520 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. (727) 455-5665. 2 p.m. Saturday.
Lucky Dill Extravaganza
With 10,000 pounds of corned beef and cabbage for this multiday party. Live music, stilt walkers, fire dancers, bagpipers, face painting, green beer and Irish-themed cocktails. Free soda bread and green cheesecake with purchase. No cover. Lucky Dill Deli, 33180 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor. (727) 789-5574. 5 p.m. today, 3 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday, noon Sunday.
Street Car Hop
The Rough Riders take their St. Patrick's Day party to the rails and use the streetcar to hop from hot spots in both Ybor City and Channelside. Ybor City starting points include Blue Dog Bistro and Dirty Shame. Channelside's starting point is Stump's Supper Club. The hop includes more than 12 venues offering food and drink specials, free food at the start points and free use of the trolley until 2 a.m. $35. The Dirty Shame, 1929 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 486-0850. 6 p.m. Friday.
Gulfport Waterfront St. Patrick's Day Street Party
Shore Boulevard will be closed and the party hits the street with four seatings of a full Irish dinner. Live music by the Paul Anthony Band (noon–4 p.m.) and Pete & Dean (5–9 p.m.), appearances by the Bud Girls, Miller Lite girls and the Bushmill's girls, face painting, balloon twisting and party favors. The party ends at midnight outside and keeps cranking until 3 a.m. inside. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Gulfport Teen Council. $20. O'Maddy's, 5405 Shore Blvd., Gulfport. (727) 323-8643. 11 a.m. Saturday.
Pete & Shorty's St. Patrick's Tent Party
A tent will be set up outside with homemade corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie and corned beef Reubens. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight, with live music from 2 to 8 p.m. No cover. 7402 49th St. N, Pinellas Park. (727) 549-8000 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Pub's Real St. Patrick's Day Party
Promising a "historically accurate" St. Patrick's Day celebration, the Euro-inspired bar at International Plaza will have "Kegs and Eggs" 8–10 a.m., Irish food specials, drink specials and live entertainment throughout the day. No cover, 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa. 8 a.m. Saturday.
The Pub Waterfront Party
With green beer, corned beef and cabbage and live music all day and night from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. The Pub Waterfront Restaurant, 20025 Gulf Blvd. Indian Shores. (727) 595-3172.
Staff writer Kelly Stefani contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: The O'Shy's Countdown to St. Patrick's Day shamrock drop in Largo is Friday at midnight. An incorrect day was reported in earlier versions of this story appearing in print and online.